Gynecomastia in Boys – Generally a Passing Stage

Gynecomastia in Boys

Gynecomastia in boys is breast enlargement observed in roughly half of boys during the puberty period. Although boys are embarrassed when they develop the condition, they should be reassured and should be aware that this is a natural phenomenon which does not progress so much as to become pronounced and easily noticeable. Furthermore, with the progress of time gynecomastia in boys subsides without the need for any treatment.

The symptoms of gynecomastia involve the development of a small and firm mass under either one or both nipples, which feels tender. Following a certain period, from a few months to a few years, the mass tends to subside and flatten out.

Medical examinations of boys can establish if they have gynecomastia, and additional testing can be performed which comprises: testing of liver functions, plasma LH, testosterone, etc. Teenage boys who are overweight and their parents should know that in overweight boys there is often pseudogynecomastia, i.e. enlarged breasts owing to overall excess fat. To cope with pseudogynecomastia, overweight boys should lose weight.

In rare cases, if boys develop really large breasts, or if gynecomastia does not disappear, surgical treatment can be consider. However, surgeons recommend waiting for a period of at least two years prior to considering surgery for gynecomastia. Typical treatment of gynecomastia in boys includes anti estrogen medications, aromatase inhibitor, or weak androgen. Generally physicians recommend not administering any medications and first waiting for gynecomastia to disappear gradually and naturally, like it happens in approximately 90 percent of teen boys.

The main reason for the development of gynecomastia in boys is believed to be the imbalance between the estrogen and androgen hormones that is typical for the period of puberty. In some cases, gynecomastia in teen boys can develop owing to drug use, such as marijuana or anabolic steroids, or medications such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medications or medications for chemotherapy.

Furthermore, gynecomastia is not common in the pre puberty period, so prepubertal boys that develop gynecomastia should undergo a complete endocrinological examination. There can be some other causes of gynecomastia in teen boys, so thorough medical examinations can establish whether there are some conditions, side effects from certain medications, etc.

When gynecomastia in boys has not disappeared naturally with time, and if a boy’s breasts develop into really large masses, especially after a period of three or more years with no signs of lessening, the embarrassment and discomfort are really high, and there is the prospect of retaining these large breasts for good. Such boys and their parents should seek medical help and consider plastic surgery to eliminate the excessive breast tissue.

The most important factor that can help teenage boys to go through the period of discomfort owing to gynecomastia is the reassurance and support on part of physicians and the support by their families. Pubertal gynecomastia is generally a temporary stage that will soon go away without leaving embarrassing excess masses in buys’ breasts, and boys should be encouraged to help them overcome the problem.

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